If I had to choose one word to describe my perspective right now, it would be optimistic. I’m sure this is a common outlook at this time of year, with spring in the air and the promise of summer just weeks away. Yet, I have been feeling a stronger sense of optimism than usual, and it stems from many sources.
The Spring 2021 semester at the Wisconsin School of Business was largely smooth sailing from an operations standpoint, thanks to our community’s cooperation with the Safer Badgers program, which centered on a mobile app that allows faculty, staff, and students to find COVID-19 testing locations, obtain test results, and display an access pass for entry into campus buildings. With increased testing and now the distribution of vaccines, we are well on our way toward a more traditional on-campus experience for our students next fall.
As we look toward a “new normal,” I eagerly anticipate the day when Grainger Hall is again bustling with full classrooms, computer labs, collaboration spaces, and offices. While the hybrid model of this past year was a necessary solution—one that allowed us to explore and leverage the benefits of virtual learning—we know that in-person connections are what make the Business Badger community truly thrive.
I had the pleasure of joining our graduates at Camp Randall for commencement in early May, and though it looked different than usual, it still carried the grandeur of our time-honored tradition celebrating our newest alumni. I’ll be among their lead champions as they launch and grow their careers, and I hope you’ll join me in welcoming them to our loyal alumni network.
These graduates join a community of impressive achievers, a few of which you’ll read about in the pages that follow. From an executive leading a major health care system to professionals managing pandemic-related risk, our alumni are helping industries navigate this turbulent time. The rising stars in our annual 8 to Watch feature showcase the creativity, innovation, and motivation we see in so many of our alumni.
Indeed, our alumni are a major source of my optimism, and I thank you for being part of this tremendous community. I look forward to the time when we can again gather in person. In the meantime, I wish you and your loved ones well and hope you enjoy the summer months ahead.
Vallabh “Samba” Sambamurthy
Albert O. Nicholas Dean
Wisconsin School of Business